The basement in my century-old house—like most century old houses I’d guess—was damp. Downright wet at times. It smelled and there was mega-mold. We kept stuff down there because we had no other choice, but it was gross. Dusty too. And when the dust got wet, it was kind of like cat litter. For a room with a higher population of spiders than people, it was a net-generator of general disgust- ingness for the whole house. So the first step in the overall rescue reno- vation of the space was taking a big bite, jumping off the top rope, mixing some more metaphors to smash, grab and dig in a perimeter drain.
WHAT IS A PERIMETER DRAIN? A perimeter drain, aka “French drain” and “drain tile”, is basically a trench around the outside of the basement floor. The water conduit is a 3-inch perforated pipe surrounded by landscape fabric and packed in rocks. The pipe pitches, ideally 1/4-in. per foot, and is covered with concrete. It also has a weeping membrane between it and the wall, so water can drip down the wall and escape into the drain system. The whole thing daylights into a sump pit in the lowest corner of the basement where water collects and is removed by a sump pump.
By Mark Clement